Neighborhood Studios Q&A: Artists Collective – Youth Jazz Orchestra

Apprentices of the Youth Jazz Orchestra program at Neighborhood Studios

When the apprentices of the Youth Jazz Orchestra program at Neighborhood Studios come together to perform, magic happens. I’ve never been one to appreciate jazz, but after listening to the students’ beautiful live performance during Studio Snapshots, I finally understood all rage. Jazz is the heart and soul of Hartford, and these talented musicians trained by the teachers of Artists Collective are the next generation of performers. Read on to get the scoop about the program in our q&a with Artists Collective and check out this video performance of the students.

What’s an average day like at your studio?

Sign in, attendance, morning meeting, one on one instrumental training, small  group section rehearsals, a history component that includes lectures and audiovisual aides. Afternoon activity includes orchestral rehearsal, working on the production repertoire, developing solo improvisational  skills and techniques.

What about working with students in the Greater Hartford region inspires you?

We are inspired to see youth who in some instances have preconceived ideas about the community where the Artists Collective is located.  We are always deeply gratified to see them overcome these media-driven stereotypes within days of our program.They find it exciting to be in North Hartford. The students are inspired and curious to learn music they have not been exposed to in school.  The understanding that most of America’s musical contributions to the world emanated from people of African decent (Field hollers, negro spirituals, Gospel, Blues, jazz, rhythm and blues, rock n roll, hip hop) is a tangible lesson that they can refer to every day. Many students have  gone on to pursue careers in the arts and have returned as instructors.

How do you see the exploration of an artistic discipline as well as career skills impacting the way these students might look towards the future?

Students who experience music on a daily basis often realize that they would like to pursue a career in music.  The work/job experience translates to team work  with  people of diverse backgrounds and  responsibility is excellent preparation for the world of work no matter what career paths students ultimately decide to pursue.

What did past students take away from the program and how does that experience differ from a traditional art class?

Past students have experienced expansion of their knowledge of music and history. Opening their minds to musical traditions not learned in school, pride in having been selected as an apprentice, and successfully completing performance on his or her instrument in an ensemble setting. Many students leave with the desire to learn about their cultural and historical backgrounds.